Thursday, April 28, 2005

the timely post

Lucky us all. Last post I promised to discuss the "cupping suggestions" that I found on the back fold of my green tea bag.

Well. No. I won't waste time trying to be funny with something that says "cupping suggestions". After I realized that the mangled text was actually a case of mild Chinglish I lost interest in poking it around for comedy. Bad Asian English ad copy is only mildly funny these days, nearly a commonplace, and making fun of it reaps small rewards. And I don't feel like magnifying it into some absurd space-time epic. Because I could, ya know. I could turn the non-apt guide to cupping into a detail peeled from a grand canvas of aliens fighting a war against time, the upshot being: the aliens, lo, they are future humans bent on commiting autogenocide by killing their ancestors, which is us!

Hey, that's a cool idea. That'd be comparable to being given the chance to go back in time and say, save Kennedy, but instead going and kicking your infant self into traffic. Why commit suicide that way? Because if you (Future You) did it, then Future You wouldn't have existed in the first place to commit the act, so there's no harm in trying. Right?

Okay. Try out this stupid wrinkle in fifteen steps:
1) You have a child.
2) Child saves your life somehow, don't ask for details.
3) It turns out that your child has a horrible congenital disease that you passed on, so you go back in time and sterilize yourself, thereby removing both the child's existence and the act that saved your life.
4) So you're dead and you never sterilized yourself in the first place.
5) Of course, you wouldn't remember that you'd even attempted it.
6) So you'd just keep trying, you sick bastard, getting into your fancy ChronoSling with your cracked schemes and gift certificates to a local vasectomy clinic.
7) You invented the ChronoSling in order to travel into the future and see if they could provide some cure for your child's disease.
8) But the humans of the future have lost interest in medicine. The future human race keeps on trying to kill its progenitors (us), but every time they succeed it simply cancels itself out - they don't remember doing it, we don't remember being killed with their patented Ancestocide Zap Ray, and the whole cycle repeats.
9) The unfortunate side-effect of this is to render the autogenocide project the last thing the human race will ever do, since time simply reverts to the initiation of the act every time it succeeds. Time hits its Omega point and they're stuck in an endless suicidal loop.
10) You know this because you've travelled in your patented ChronoSling to the end of time and watched the human race's attempt to off itself repeatedly, inadvertently achieving this by cauterizing its forward movement in time.
11) And what you saw so traumatized you that you no longer wish your child to participate in the existential horror show that is the future of humanity, so you go back and attempt to sterilize yourself in order to prevent the birth of your child.
12) Dummy. Now you're stuck in that endless loop, sealing off time as effectively as our descendants will someday do.
13) Except now they won't, because you've coiled the universe in a loop, so that now they don't even exist.
14) Which means that the events that propelled your dumb-ass decision in the first place didn't happen, so you didn't go back and try to sterilize your kid.
15) Which means that you, my friend, saved the human race from extinguishing itself in such a baroque and unnecessary fashion. Instead, in a display of great parsimony, they all jump into traffic at once.

3 comments:

palinode said...

Please submit your thrilling tales of time-travel paradox here.

Friday said...

So, like, say all the butterscotch ice-cream in the world dries up suddenly. You go back in time to stock up your freezer, giving you at least a year's supply. But get this: you don't even LIKE butterscotch! And you're too stupid to know to sell it at black market prices. Besides which, while back in time you forgot to save enough to ensure that you could buy a freezer big enough to hold a year's supply of butterscotch ice-cream, so your bootleggable merch has already melted in the sun. Now that's good comedy. And probably not even feasible, now that I think about it.

blackbird said...

wait -
cannot...can you say "aborted landing?"
that's all I can manage tonight.